• Ben Makinita [mailto:Ben.Makinita@metrorail.co.za]
  • Communication and Marketing Coordinator,
  • PRASA Rai

Total number of LX in 2010:1168
Total number of LX in 2011:

Accidents in 2007: 143
Accidents in 2008: 122
Accidents in 2009: 129
Accidents in 2010: 116
Accidents in 2011:

Fatalities in 2007: 20
Fatalities in 2008: 22
Fatalities in 2009: 21
Fatalities in 2010: 27
Fatalities in 2011:

Awareness measures

  • distribution of flyers at level crossings in Cape Town
  • publications on social media
  • http://capetowntrains.freeblog.site/
    2 June is International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD), and Metrorail has once again urged motorists to observe all road signs and markings at crossings to ensure their safety at all times. ILCAD, which draws railway industry representatives; road authorities; academics and more from around the world, aims to raise awareness about the dangers associated with roadway-railway crossings.

The Western Cape rail network has 35 level crossings, most in the northern area, of which many are farm crossings. The busiest crossings are Military Road, Steenberg and Buttskop Blackheath.

Safety at level crossings is predominantly governed by the principles contained in the South African Road Signs Manual (SANS). It is important to stress that similar to traffic signals being out of order, the onus remains on pedestrians and motorists to comply with road signage such as stop signs and road markings. We advise pedestrians/cyclist and motorists to obey the rules of the road to ensure they are not needlessly exposed to avoidable danger.

Obey the signs
Road signs are primary indicators of safety at level crossings. The booms and/or attendants are additional barriers to alert motorists of trains that may be approaching. Metrorail will do everything within its power to ensure the safety and or security of commuters, and prevent incidents.

Be level-headed
Follow these important safety tips when approaching a level crossing:
It’s illegal for vehicles to cross railway lines at any time, except at a designated level crossing.
Look out for trains travelling in both directions.
Always wait until the warning signals or lights stop and the boom gates go up.
If the boom gates stay down and the warning lights keep flashing, it means there is another train coming, usually from the opposite direction.
Wait until you can see that the tracks are clear in both directions before crossing.
Wheelchairs, prams and strollers should always be pushed at right angles to the track so the wheels don’t get trapped.
Walk with bikes, rollerblades or skateboards.
Never queue over a level crossing.
Ensure there’s a full vehicle length between your car and the one in front before you drive.
Be aware of visibility. Train drivers cannot see clearly to the left or right of the tracks. They also cannot see people or objects on the tracks directly in front of the train.

That’s a fact
It costs on average R75,000 – R100,000 per annum to replace/repairs damaged booms
On average 259 booms are damaged by errant motorists every year
All Metrorail level crossings are checked and tested meticulously
Safety at level crossings is predominantly governed by the principles contained in South African Road Signs Manual
All level crossings comply fully with legal and statutory requirements. Some even exceed legally required safety measures
Trains sound their sirens and operate with their head lights on as additional safety measures
Motorists/pedestrians should note that legally a train has right of way at road/rail level crossing intersections.
It is important to bear in mind that trains operate on fixed infrastructure, they are unable to take evasive action during emergencies
A full train will take up to 500 meters to stop under emergency conditions
Warning devices such as flash lights and booms are tested weekly and operational observations done daily
Road and rail crossing signage and road surface fixtures are inspected for vandalism and repairs every 90 days
Test results are documented in compliance to a stringent safety management system
Metrorail is a partner in the regional cross-functional level crossing task team
Where level crossings are protected by lights and barriers, the lights will start flashing 30 seconds before an approaching train enters the level crossing intersection
Barriers drop 10 seconds before the train enters the intersection and remain closed until the last carriage safely clears the intersection. Lights continue to flash until the barrier lifts